Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge
Monday 30 January 2017 — Category: Outings
In the middle of my McMenamins Portland southwest suburbs pub crawl last week, I took a detour to the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge along Oregon Route 99W.
It was only a mile and quarter northeast from my final stop at the McMenamins Sherwood Pub in the city of Sherwood, in the Tualatin Valley on the southwestern edge of the Portland metro area.
I arrived around 1:30, after a delicious lunch at the McMenamins John Barleycorns Brewpub about seven miles up the road. I wanted to get some fresh air, enjoy nature, and walk off my lunch before indulging in some dessert.
During the next hour and a half I hiked about two miles of winter trails at the Refuge. Along the way I saw lots of ducks and Canada geese, a couple of great blue herons and bald eagles, and an American coot, as well as some fellow human visitors.
Most of the Refuge is closed between October 1 and April 30 in order to “protect” the wildlife, which makes it quite difficult to fully appreciate the Refuge. Only the trails marked in white and yellow on the map to the right are open all year long.
Following those paths, I walked all the way to the Wetland Observation Deck and the Ridgetop Overlook. Somehow I failed to notice that there was an additional trail to the Photo Blind, so I didn’t get to see that section.
Still, I very much enjoyed the little bit of the Refuge that I was allowed to experience. Particularly interesting were the two bald eagles perched high in a tree near the Ridgetop Overlook. These predators seemed to be eyeing the thousands of ducks below. Perhaps they were trying to choose the plumpest specimens for their next meal.
On the way back to the parking lot I was approaching a large flock of geese on the ground. Right as I was at my closest and about to photograph them, a woman was approaching them on one of the forbidden, closed trails. Either she was an air-head or rebellious, but the result was the same: the geese were frightened and began taking flight.
I quickly snapped some photos, then gave a severe look towards the woman, shaking my head in disgust at the intruder. However, even though she was greatly disturbing the “protected” geese, her actions led to some good shots which I would otherwise not have gotten. So I benefitted even though the birds did not.
During my 90-minute visit I took a total of 112 photos. The best 37, including a handful of cropped close-ups as well as a 13-image, 180° panorama, are now available for viewing in the new Tualatin River Wildlife Refuge 2017 album.